On Dec. 3, OPSEU members took part in 24 events across Ontario with one goal: to start a public conversation about corporate tax cuts.
Neither the Liberals nor the Tories want this conversation to happen. Under Mike Harris, under Dalton McGuinty, the most profitable corporations in this land have had their way on everything. And no matter what the problem, their solution has always been the same: give corporations more money.
Our union is challenging that world view. We are talking about the fact that every dollar we donate to corporations comes out of health care, education, environmental protection, and other services. And when it doesn’t come out of services, it comes out of the wages of working people.
These working people – our members – spend the wages they make, and wages are the economic bedrock of every community. Cut them, and you cut local economies.
For their part, the defenders of corporate tax cuts say they create jobs. Sometimes they even say tax cuts create so many jobs that they pay for themselves. This is a myth.
Obviously if corporate taxes were 100 per cent of profits we would have no investment at all, but that’s not what we’re talking about. Ontario’s corporate taxes are already lower than those of our competitors. Cutting them further just takes money away from the things that make an economy strong. Things like public health care. An educated workforce. A modern transportation and communications system.From Thunder Bay to Windsor to my home town of Kingston, our members are putting corporate tax cuts on the political map of Ontario. We are challenging the status quo.
For too long, working people everywhere have been told that we will benefit in the future if we give corporations what they want today. It hasn’t turned out that way. Wages are slipping. The number of jobs is slipping. The quality of jobs is slipping.
We need a better solution. And that starts with challenging the people who really run this province and challenging the way they run it.
I want to say congratulations and thank you to our member mobilizers and to all our members who organized, led, and took part in our corporate tax cut events. Your work is setting the agenda in Ontario. In the months and years ahead, your work will transform Ontario – for the better.
Warren (Smokey) Thomas, President